Scientist Accused of Poisoning Wife With Cyanide

Saturday, Jul 27, 2013  |  Updated 6:40 PM EDT
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Scientist Charged With Murder to Waive Extradition

A University of Pittsburgh medical researcher plans to waive extradition on charges of having fatally poisoned his neurologist wife with cyanide, according to his attorney.

Attorney William Difenderfer said Friday that Dr. Robert Ferrante, 64, plans to waive extradition at a hearing Monday in West Virginia, where he was taken into custody Thursday night.

Difenderfer said his client wasn't trying to flee charges in the death of 41-year-old UPMC neurologist Autumn Marie Klein when he left Florida and began driving north.

He said he had called his client and told him to return to Pittsburgh to surrender, and his client was “on his way to turn himself in.”

Klein, chief of women's neurology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, died April 20 after suddenly falling ill at home three days earlier. Blood tests revealed a lethal level of cyanide, but only after Klein had died and been cremated at her husband's insistence, police said. 

Prosecutors allege that Ferrante, co-director of the Center for ALS Research and a visiting professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, had used a university credit card to buy more than a half-pound of cyanide two days before his wife fell ill.

“My guy is adamant that he was not involved,"Difenderfer said.

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